- It’s the end of a busy and explorative day. Bangkok is busy, obviously, but more than that – more like a hive of 6 million people hurriedly going about their daily lives, swarming in every direction. Space is at a premium and inadequate to the extreme. Painted white lines on the road are more a casual, unrealistic suggestion than a law most drivers adhere to. Tuk tuk drivers are particularly insane, weaving at high speed in and out of the tiniest spaces as though in a video game.
- I don’t really know how traffic manages to flow, but somehow it does. Although I’m sure crashes must be much more common than in Perth – just today we saw a Hilux that had, seconds before, moulded a small car’s door into the shape of its grill. The tuk tuk and taxi drivers are equally as aggressive in their sales tactics as their driving style. Many will doggedly follow you down the sidewalk for a block or two until they’re dead sure they have no chance of making money.
On the other hand, some smile politely at a declination and let you stroll on past without much hassle. This range of attitudes applies to the shop and stall keepers as well – some pressing so desperately for a sale and others completely unphased by a hurried “No, sorry, no thank you.” Indeed, many people are polite and cheery and happy to help, which really does make a difference to how comfortable you feel in a country other than your own.
The rhythm and the beat of Bangkok streets is on my mind because we spent all day wandering though them. I really did enjoy myself. It’s great simply having an entirely different setting to feast your eyes on, even if it’s that of somewhere you couldn’t imagine living, or even somewhere you actually like. It’s just different. That in itself has so much appeal.
Amy’s a wonderful travelling partner (I’m here with my girlfriend by the way, forgot to mention that). We’re both flexible and easy-going about what we do and where we go. That eliminates a potentially massive source of argument. And she makes me laugh. Perhaps most of all, though, I like that she cares about things – about the destitute blind or limbless beggars on the sidewalk, about acting in a way that won’t offend, about learning the culture. All things that make me appreciate having her as my girlfriend and having her here with me in Bangkok.
And one last mention before I’m too exhausted. We dined at a lovely little authentic Thai restaurant this evening – a leafy refuge from the scuttles of the street, with a dim, contemplative atmosphere seemingly suited to some heavily-smoking ex-patriot scribbling insights in the corner. We ate an absurdly flavour-filled Thai beef salad – leagues too spicy for Amy, though she fought through the chilli with the aid of my milky iced tea. Freakin’ delicious.